A fine romance

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In this month’s fiction feature we are exploring another thread in our rich and diverse fiction collection by highlighting romantic fiction. Romance has inspired some of the world’s most beloved classics, from to Persuasion by Jane Austen and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte to Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

The genre now encompasses a dizzying array of sub-categories to suit every taste, including fantasy romance, gothic romance, historical romance, inspirational romance, paranormal romance, military romance, regency romance, western romance, vampire and werewolf romance, and let’s not forget time travel romance. So why not explore the wonderful world of romance writing! Below is just a very small selection of our picks.


Some of the many classic Romance titles include.

Persuasion / Austen, Jane
“Jane Austen’s final novel is her most mature and wickedly satirical. It follows the story of Anne Elliott, who as a teenager, was engaged to a seemingly ideal man, Frederick Wentworth. But after being persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that he is too poor to be a suitable match, Anne ends their engagement. When they are reacquainted eight years later, their circumstances are transformed: Frederick is returning triumphantly from the Napoleonic War, while Anne’s fortunes are floundering. Will their past regrets prevent them from finding future happiness?” (Catalogue)

Gone with the wind / Mitchell, Margaret
“One of the most famous love stories of all time Set against the historical backdrop of the American Civil War, this historical epic is a tale of a nation mortally divided. It is the love story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlet O’Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.” (Catalogue)

Rebecca / Du Maurier, Daphne
* One of the most famous novels ofthe 20th century* A dark tale of the feminine unconscious Du Maurier’s famous tale of suspense, mystery and love concerns Maxim de Winter’s shy new bride and the house she is to inhabit, but that still reverberates to the haunting presence of his previous wife’s influence.” (Catalogue)

Sci Fi/Paranormal Romance has amongst its many practitioners New Zealand author Nalini Singh.

Archangel’s blade / Singh, Nalini
“Trying to discover the identity of a murder victim brings together the vampire Dmitri and a hunter for the Guild, Honor. And as the gruesome murders continue, a lethal sensuality explodes between them.” (Catalogue)

Historical Romance is another very popular genre. We particularly like Scot
Emma Blair.

Wild strawberries / Blair, Emma
“Maizie and her husband run a hotel in Cornwall. When World War II starts, Sam joins up. Struggling to keep the hotel going, Maizie takes on two evacuees, glad of the company. Her happiness grows with the arrival of a French soldier wounded at Dunkirk but she soon becomes torn between duty and love.” (Catalogue)

Contemporary romance is well represented by the ever popular Jojo Moyes.

Paris for one and other stories / Moyes, Jojo
“Nell is twenty-six and has never been to Paris. She’s never even been on a romantic weekend away – to anywhere – before. Travelling abroad isn’t really her thing. But when Nell’s boyfriend fails to show up, she has the chance to prove to everyone – including herself – that she can be independent and intrepid. Alone in Paris, Nell finds a version of herself she never knew existed . . . In the ten other stories, Jojo Moyes introduces us to a cast of strong, relatable women in the midst of their everyday lives. In Honeymoon in Paris, featuring characters from her bestselling novel, The Girl You Left Behind, Liv and Sophie – though decades apart – both find that marriage is only the beginning of their love stories. In Crocodile Shoes, a businesswoman’s blossoming confidence emerges from a fateful changing-room mix-up. And in both Love in the Afternoonand A Bird in the Hand, two couples dance around the trickiness of long-time marriage. In this irresistible collection, readers are whisked from elegant perfume shops to taxis to five-star hotel rooms and beyond. Jojo Moyes always makes the ordinary moments in life extraordinary. Funny, charming, and unmissable, Paris for One and Other Storiesis Moyes at her best.” (Catalogue)

And Suspense Romance fiction features one of the world’s bestselling authors, Nora Roberts. Enjoy!

The liar / Roberts, Nora
“In a sexy, suspenseful read, Nora Roberts delivers a slow-burning fuse of a plot that ultimately explodes in a nail-biting conclusion. Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions. The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safe-deposit box, she finds multiple IDs. The man she loved wasn’t just dead. He never really existed.” (Catalogue)

New Romance Novels

This special selection of new Romance novels will delight passionate readers of this genre, from romantic suspense to historical, Regency to modern day. Set in restaurants, dance halls, libraries, Hollywood film sets, and stately homes, there is something to tempt any reader wishing for several hours of reading pleasure.

Syndetics book coverSilent melody / Mary Balogh.
“A Georgian romance of a transcendent love. Lady Emily Marlowe is beautiful, independent, and unspoiled. Deaf since childhood, she appreciates her family’s efforts to nurture her spirit, but the man they’ve chosen for her betrothal can never fulfill her. The only one Emily has ever desired is bold and reckless Lord Ashley Kendrick. Her childhood amour inspired her fantasies and vowed never to forget her, even as he left her for a new life in India and a new love. Seven years and countless dreams later, Ashley has returned a desolate widower to Bowden Abbey and, true to his promise, to Emily. Yet his heedless proposal of marriage has left her unexpectedly conflicted. Though the heat of passion still burns, Emily fears that it’s only a sense of duty, not love, that has brought him to bended knee.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe gilded life of Matilda Duplaine / Alex Brunkhorst.
“When young journalist Thomas Cleary is sent to dig up quotes for the obituary of a legendary film producer, the man’s eccentric daughter offers him access to the exclusive upper echelons of Hollywood society. As Thomas enters a world of private jets and sprawling mansions, his life and career take off beyond his wildest dreams. Then he meets Matilda Duplaine, beautiful and mysterious, she has spent her entire life within the walls of her powerful father’s Bel-Air estate. Thomas is entranced, and the two begin a secret love affair. But the more he learns about the mysterious woman’s identity, the more he realizes that privilege always comes with a price.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFirst time with a highlander / Gwyn Cready.
“Serafina Seonag Fallon’s scoundrel of a fiancé has left her with nothing, and she’s determined to turn the tables. If she can come up with a ringer, she can claim the cargo he stole from her. But the dashing man she summons from the future demands more than a night, and Serafina finds it easier to command the seas under her feet than the crashing waves he unleashes in her heart.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe highlander’s bride / Amanda Forester.
“All Highland warrior Gavin Patrick wants is to get back to his native Scotland. But before he can leave the battlefield, he’s given a final mission to escort Lady Marie Colette to her fiancé. Under no circumstances is he to lay hands on the beautiful, clever-tongued heiress, no matter how desperate the temptation. Forced to pose as a married couple to make their escape from France, Gavin and Marie Colette find themselves thrown into peril and each other’s arms. As the danger mounts, so does their forbidden passion. But it isn’t until Marie Colette is taken from him that Gavin is forced to decide, is he willing to lose the woman who stole his heart, or will he jeopardize his honor, defy his promise, and steal her in return?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnything for you / Kristan Higgins.
“For ten years, Connor O’Rourke has been waiting for Jessica Dunn to take their on-again, off-again relationship public, and he thinks the time has come. His restaurant is thriving, she’s got her dream job at Blue Heron Vineyard, it is the perfect time to get married. When he pops the question, however, her answer is a fond but firm no. Jess has her hands full with her younger brother, who’s now living with her full-time and a great career after years of waitressing. What she and Connor have is perfect: friends with an excellent benefits package. Besides, with her difficult past (and reputation), she’s positive married life isn’t for her. But this time, Connor says it’s all or nothing. If she doesn’t want to marry him, he’ll find someone who does.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLord Fenton’s folly : a proper romance / Josi S. Kilpack.
“Lord Fenton is a gambler, a dandy, and a flirt and he must marry or else he will be disinherited, stripped of his wealth and his position. He chooses Alice Stanbridge for two simple reasons: he once knew her as a young girl, and she is the least objectionable option available to him. However, Alice has harbored feelings for Fenton since their first meeting ten years ago, and she believes his proposal is real. When she discovers it is not, she is embarrassed and hurt. Only when faced with family secrets that have shaped Fenton’s life does he let down his guard enough to find room in his heart for Alice. But can Alice risk her heart a second time?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCold-hearted rake / Lisa Kleypas.
“Devon Ravenel, London’s most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl’s three innocent sisters are still occupying the house along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon’s own. Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she’s ever known?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wedding circle / Ashton Lee.
“Two wonderful new chapters are unfolding for Maura Beth Mayhew, Cherico’s librarian. Thanks to her persistence, a new, cutting-edge library is being built on the shores of beautiful Lake Cherico. And come September, Maura Beth will marry Jeremy McShay at his aunt and uncle’s stunning home. Yet in life, as in fiction, happy endings are hard-won. A local politician is trying to divert library funds, while Maura Beth’s socialite parents insist on a lavish New Orleans wedding. To get the wedding and the library of her dreams, Maura Beth will have to harness the indomitable spirit of her favorite Southern heroines and the sage advice of the Cherry Cola Book Club.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChristmas in Mustang Creek / Linda Lael Miller.
“Charlotte Morgan grew up in Mustang Creek, Wyoming, and couldn’t wait to escape to the big city. But life in New York isn’t as fabulous as she’d like to admit. There was one potential prince, though, Jaxon Locke, a veterinarian with definite possibilities but his move to Idaho to fill in at his dad’s vet practice ended things just as they were getting interesting. What Charlotte doesn’t know is that he misses her, more than he expected. Charlotte’s great-aunt Geneva, the woman who raised her, needs to enter an assisted-living facility, so, just before Christmas, Charlotte moves back home. When Jax catches wind of her move back West, he’s determined to get to Wyoming and do whatever it takes to win her back.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOne week in August / Margaret Thornton.
“August, 1955. Janice Butler is working as a waitress at her mother’s Blackpool boarding house before she heads off to university. When Val and Cissie, both from Walker’s Woollen Mill in Halifax, come to stay for a week, the three young women form an instant friendship. When they attend a local dance at the Winter Gardens, the events of that evening will change all their lives, both for better and for worse. Romance beckons for all three girls but can a holiday fling ever lead to something deeper? As autumn approaches, the three friends discover that life doesn’t always turn out as one would expect and the course of true love never did run smooth.” (Adapted fromSyndetics summary)

Attention all aspiring Romance writers

Syndetics book coverThe Sandra Hyde Romance Writers Trust is offering a scholarship to the Romance Writers of NZ annual conference, Love Thrills, August 29-30 in Auckland.
The Prize:
RWNZ Conference fees (Friday Workshop and Weekend Conference, including cocktail party). If the winner is not currently a member of RWNZ, their prize will include a one-year membership subscription, since only members can attend the Weekend Conference. The winner will also receive $150 contribution toward expenses.
Who can enter: Any New Zealand-based writer of romantic fiction (published or unpublished).
Deadline to enter: Midnight, NZ time, Saturday, May 16, 2015.
Full information can be found at Romance Writers of New Zealand.

Paranormal Romance

Syndetics book coverThe Romance Writers of New Zealand are holding their 2013 conference in Wellington from 23rd to 25th August. Two much acclaimed New Zealand writers are among the long list of international guest speakers. Wellington writer Catherine Robertson and the very popular Nalini Singh, both represented New Zealand fiction at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair.

Paranormal Romance is a sub-genre of the romance novel that focuses on elements that include fantasy, science fiction and horror. They usually include romantic relationships between humans, some with psychic abilities and other worldly beings, such as ghosts, vampires, or shapeshifters.

Nalini Singh continues to delight her many readers with her paranormal romances, a continuingly popular genre. In her most recent book Heart of Obsidian , three distant races of supernatural beings sharing very different goals must fight their emotions and true natures when their uneasy coexistence starts to erode.

Examples of some other writers of this genre include C.T Adams and Cathy Clamp with Touch of Madness. The very popular Katie McAlister with her most recent work, Even Vampires get the Blues and Lynn Viehl‘s Shadowlight: a novel of Kyndred. Also Clare Willis with Once Bitten and J. R. Ward‘s novel titled Lover at Last: a novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, published 2013.

April Fiction Newsletter

Welcome to the April Fiction Newsletter. We have a wonderful selection of new fiction from all genres to help pass those long winter nights. This month’s ‘Other Genre’ fiction features Romance fiction, and they are not all the type of romance your grandmother would have enjoyed.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

This selection from April’s new Contemporary Fiction features three great novelists that will provide rewarding reading experiences.

Syndetics book coverThe childhood of Jesus / J. M. Coetzee.
“After crossing oceans, a man and a boy arrive in a new land. Here they are each assigned a name and an age, and held in a camp in the desert while they learn Spanish, the language of their new country. As Simón and David they make their way to the relocation centre in the city of Novilla, where officialdom treats them politely but not necessarily helpfully. Simón finds a job in a grain wharf. He must set about his task of locating the boy’s mother. Though like everyone else who arrives in this new country he seems to be washed clean of all traces of memory, he is convinced he will know her when he sees her. And indeed, while walking with the boy in the countryside Simón catches sight of a woman he is certain is the mother, and persuades her to assume the role.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverA tale for the time being / Ruth Ozeki.
“In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine.
Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox, possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverLight shining in the forest / Paul Torday.
“Norman Stokoe has just been appointed Children’s Czar by the new government. He sells his flat and moves up north to take up the position. However before his first salary cheque has even hit his bank account, new priorities are set for the government department for which he works. The Children’s Czar Network is put on hold but it is too late to reverse the decision to employ Norman. So he is given a P.A. and a spacious office in a new business park on the banks of the Tyne. He settles down in his new leather chair behind his new desk, to wait for the green light to begin his mission. The green light never comes. What does happen is that two children go missing. As Children’s Czar he is now faced with a campaigning journalist and a distraught mother, he is forced to become involved. The search will take him to dark places and will make him ask questions about the system he is supposed to uphold.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

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Graphic novels

New Zealand’s own writer and artist, Gonzalo Navarro’s brilliantly drawn Aotearoa whispers 1, the awakening, heads the selection from this month’s new Graphic Novels. Amazing

Syndetics book coverNot my bag / written and illustrated by Sina Grace.
“What do you get when you put an artist in a department store selling nice clothes, all the while wondering why being so clearly in retail hell doesn’t stop him from having a modicum of ambition to move up the fashion food chain? Sina Grace (The L’il Depressed Boy) draws upon his experience in retail to craft a graphic novel that gives us a window into the life of an artist who is forced to take a job he doesn’t really want in order to pay the bills.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRebel blood / scripter, Alex Link ; art, Riley Rossmo ; plot, Alex Link and Riley Rossmo. “A virus has created a wilderness of blood-thirsty creatures standing between you and your family. You don’t know if you can save them in time, or if you’ve even got the strength to try. But you’re about to find out. In a world of ravenous creatures it doesn’t matter who you used to be. Today you’re lunch!” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverAotearoa whispers. 1, The awakening / Gonzalo Navarro ; Charisma Rangipunga, translation. “The brilliant art work by Gonzalo Navarro brings his wonderful interpretation of Maori culture and New Zealand history alive. Fiction based very much on reality.” (adapted from Book cover)

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Mysteries

The most recent new mysteries from the popular Donna Leon, Camilla Lackberg, and Fred Vargas are featured in this month’s selection.

Syndetics book coverThe ghost riders of Ordebec / Fred Vargas ; translated from the French by Sian Reynolds.
“More than ten million copies of Fred Vargas’s Commissaire Adamsberg mysteries have been sold worldwide. Now, American readers are getting hooked on the internationally bestselling author’s unsettling blend of crime and the supernatural. As the chief of police in Paris’s seventh arrondissement, Commissaire Adamsberg has no jurisdiction in Ordebec. Yet, he cannot ignore a widow’s plea. Her daughter Lina has seen a vision of the Ghost Riders with four nefarious men. According to the thousand-year-old legend, the vision means that the men will soon die a grisly death. When one of them disappears, Adamsberg races to Ordebec, where he becomes entranced by the gorgeous Lina—and embroiled in the small Normandy town’s ancient feud…” (Description from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe lost boy / Camilla Lackberg ; translated from the Swedish by Tiina Nunnally.
“No. 1 international bestseller and Swedish crime sensation Camilla Lackberg’s new psychological thriller – irresistible for fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo. Mats Sverin was Fjallbacka’s financial director on a regeneration project worth millions. When he is found murdered, Detective Patrik Hedstrom must find answers. It seems Mats was a man who everybody liked yet nobody really knew – a man with something to hide…Is it just a coincidence that his high school sweetheart, Nathalie, has returned to the area? What does she know about who Mats really was? However, Nathalie has her own secret. Something has made her and her five-year-old son flee to their remote family home on the ‘Ghost Isle’. And that is where she’ll stay and shield her son from the evils of the world…” (Description from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe golden egg / Donna Leon.
“Commissario Guido Brunetti, out of a sense of guilt and at the urging of his compassionate wife, investigates the suspicious death of a disabled man, Davide Cavanella, in Leon’s intriguing 22nd mystery featuring the crafty Venetian police inspector (after 2012’s Beastly Things). Davide’s mother is unwilling to discuss his death. Worse, there’s no official evidence of Davide’s existence: he apparently was never born and never went to school, saw a doctor, or received a passport. The colorful locals are uncooperative. Brunetti’s understanding of the Venetian bureaucracy, which operates smoothly on bribery and familial connections, allows his subordinates to enlist the help of various aunts and cousins, as is neatly shown in a subplot involving the mayor and his son. Appreciative of feminine charms, the deeply uxorious Brunetti amply displays the keen intelligence and wry humor that has endeared this series to so many…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

The new novels from the Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson collaboration, Sherrilyn Kenyon and David Wingrove have been selected from this month’s new Science Fiction and Fantasy genre.

Syndetics book coverHellhole : awakening / Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
“General Adolphus knows the Monarchy crackdown is coming. Now he needs to pull together all the resources of the Hellhole colony, the ever-expanding shadow-Xayan settlement, and his connections with the other Deep Zone worlds. On Sonjeera, Diadem Michella Duchenet has collected a huge fleet, led by firebrand Commissar Escobar Hallholme, son of the man who originally defeated Adolphus. Uniting themselves and pooling their minds, the shadow-Xayans send a power surge along the original stringline path that links Hellhole with the Monarchy’s hub on Sonjeera. All of the Diadem’s battleships are currently approaching on that route, and when the mental blast wipes out all the substations, the battleships are effectively stranded. But worse threats are to follow.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverBorn of silence / Sherrilyn Kenyon.
“Vowing to destroy his father’s killer while outmaneuvering alter ego Kere, Darling Cruel, a dictator member of an elite ruling family, is shattered when Resistance leader Zarya, his most trusted ally, turns a specially designed weapon against Darling’s family in her effort to rekindle his humanity.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDaylight on Iron Mountain / David Wingrove.
“The generals of the Middle Kingdom await the decision of the emperor. The campaign to secure the border from China to Iraq has reached a strange impasse. Two blood enemies – Arabs and Jews – have united against their common cause. But with the lives of thousands at his whim, the exalted Tsao Ch’un, the Son of Heaven, cannot decide. Destroy the Middle East in one blinding flash? Or take another path? In the court of Tsao Ch’un, men of power have become smiling lackeys, whose graces conceal their fear, or their ambition. A man that can be trusted absolutely is a rare thing. And so, with his family held hostage by the empire, General Jiang Lei finds himself appointed to a special task: the orchestration of the last great war against the West, the total dominion of America.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

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Other genres

Romance is the feature of Other Genre fiction and this month all aspects of romance have been represented, from erotic to suspense.

Syndetics book coverDestined to play / Indigo Bloome.
“When 37-year-old psychologist, Alexandra Blake, leaves her comfortable suburban existence to give a series of lectures , she meets up with Dr Jeremy Quinn, the man who opened her eyes and body to the world in ways she never thought possible. After a few glasses of champagne in his luxurious hotel penthouse, he presents her with an extraordinary proposition. Alexandra knows that they never promise each other something they can’t commit to and that he will challenge her every inhibition. But she soon finds herself seduced into a level of surrender and danger she could never have imagined.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverElza’s kitchen / Marc Fitten.
“Divorcee Elza owns a little restaurant in post communist Hungary. She’s in a dead-end relationship with the Sous-Chef, restless and dissatisfied, and desperate for the Critic to visit, taste her marvelous pork tenderloin, and nominate her for the coveted Silver Ladle award. She entreats two friends, the Professor of Sauces and the Professor of Meats, to persuade the Critic to give her a shot. Her failed relationship with the Sous-Chef, combined with the Critic’s late, drunken arrival, and a violent incident with a trio of loitering Gypsy children cause everything to unravel. Elza must rebuild not just her business but her life.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDangerous refuge / Elizabeth Lowell.
“Beautiful, sweet Shay and dark, dangerous Tanner don’t have a lot in common. He’s a suspicious big city policeman who’s come home to his family’s ranch. Shay works for an environmental conservancy that acquires and protects old ranches and she wants to preserve the Davis homestead. The suspicious death of Tanner’s uncle throws the two opposites together and sparks fly. Working as a pair, using Shay’s sweet personality and town connections, as well as Tanner’s experience, they set out to find justice, never expecting to find love along the way.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

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Other Genre for April, this month: romance novels.

Romance novels are the feature of this month’s “other genre” selections. From the delightful, Emily and Einstein by Linda Frances Lee to the suspense of Elizabeth Lowell’s Dangerous Refuge, all types of romantic fiction are represented here.

Syndetics book coverDestined to play / Indigo Bloome.
“When 37-year-old psychologist, Alexandra Blake, leaves her comfortable suburban existence to give a series of lectures , she meets up with Dr Jeremy Quinn, the man who opened her eyes and body to the world in ways she never thought possible. After a few glasses of champagne in his luxurious hotel penthouse, he presents her with an extraordinary proposition. Alexandra knows that they never promise each other something they can’t commit to and that he will challenge her every inhibition. But she soon finds herself seduced into a level of surrender and danger she could never have imagined.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverDestined to feel / Indigo Bloome.
“This is e next thrilling erotic adventure from the creator of Destined to Play. Psychologist Alexandra Blake has been awakened sexually by her lover, Jeremy Quinn. Their erotic journey has seen Alexandra explore her innermost sexual fantasies and pushed her boundaries to their very limit.Her world is plunged into uncertainty when she is abducted in London and Alexandra finds herself caught up in a dangerous game being played out in the shadows. Her captors want to use her to explore the darkest enigma of female sexuality and Alexandra is powerless to escape, but does she even want to?” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverElza’s kitchen / Marc Fitten.
“Divorcee Elza owns a little restaurant in post communist Hungary. She’s in a dead-end relationship with the Sous-Chef, restless and dissatisfied, and desperate for the Critic to visit, taste her marvelous pork tenderloin, and nominate her for the coveted Silver Ladle award. She entreats two friends, the Professor of Sauces and the Professor of Meats, to persuade the Critic to give her a shot. Her failed relationship with the Sous-Chef, combined with the Critic’s late, drunken arrival, and a violent incident with a trio of loitering Gypsy children cause everything to unravel. Elza must rebuild not just her business but her life.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverZ : a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald / Therese Anne Fowler.
“From the moment gorgeous Zelda laid eyes on her officer husband, her days were filled with magical moments, as Scott began to receive critical acclaim, and the pair navigated a social circuit graced by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Tallulah Bankhead, and Gertrude Stein. But the high life dropped low when Fitzgerald’s good fortune began to fizzle, and his already excessive drinking increased. As her husband grew more distant and distracted, Zelda fell into the arms of a charming Frenchman, but she gave up the romance in hopes of saving her marriage. Could the dazzling literary It couple ever find its way back to bliss?” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ambassador’s daughter / Pam Jenoff.
“Conflicted Margot accompanies her German diplomat father to Paris for the treaty negotiations following WWI. Traveling to England and then France, Margot deliberately delays the inevitable return to Berlin and avoids the impending union with her injured fiancé Stefan. Guilty about abandoning their commitment, Margot feels detached from the life she’s expected to lead, shielding herself “from the truth that inevitably awaits.” Though at first an outsider in Paris and bored with the social functions she must attend, her world changes when she meets Krysia, a pianist from Poland with radical political affiliations, an ethereal appearance, and an affinity for forthright speech–and then Georg, the striking but troubled German naval officer with “strong features, seemingly etched from granite.” The two share an immediate and undeniable attraction, but with new introductions come new afflictions. Margot quickly becomes entangled in a political fiasco as well as a dangerous love triangle.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhere the light falls / Katherine Keenum.
“Paris attracts artists from everywhere. One is Jeanette Palmer, daughter of a prominent Ohio family, who has left Vassar College under a cloud of scandal. Amid the city’s great bohemian neighborhoods and teaching studios, Jeanette befriends other female artists, as well as an American Civil War veteran named Edward Murer. She begins to achieve a level of artistic success. And her happiness increases as she and Edward grow more intimate with each other. But Edward is plagued by his demons and addicted to laudanum, and as the world opens its arms to Jeanette, and the society around her is transformed by cultural and scientific innovations, she must resolve a conflict utterly new to so many women: the choice between ambition and love.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFour in hand / Stephanie Laurens.Four in Hand
“Along with the dukedom of Twyford, London’s most notorious rogue had inherited ward ship of four devilishly attractive sisters, including the irresistible Caroline Twinning. The eldest Twinning was everything he had ever wanted in a woman, but even Max couldn’t seduce his own ward, or could he? After all, he did have a substantial reputation to protect and what better challenge than the one woman capable of stealing his heart?” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverEmily and Einstein / Linda Francis Lee.Emily and Einstein
“Sandy Portman, a wealthy New Yorker who attracts women like bees to flowers, marries naive and optimistic Emily, a young editor. Sandy becomes bored with Emily, but he is killed while crossing the street on his way to ask her for a divorce. He then returns miraculously as an ugly mutt, Einstein, to try to find his way to redemption. Sandy as Einstein must understand himself and become a “true man,” while Emily must find the real Emily under the false self she thought she should be.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDangerous refuge / Elizabeth Lowell.
“Beautiful, sweet Shay and dark, dangerous Tanner don’t have a lot in common. He’s a suspicious big city policeman who’s come home to his family’s ranch. Shay works for an environmental conservancy that acquires and protects old ranches and she wants to preserve the Davis homestead. The suspicious death of Tanner’s uncle throws the two opposites together and sparks fly. Working as a pair, using Shay’s sweet personality and town connections, as well as Tanner’s experience, they set out to find justice, never expecting to find love along the way.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Latest Mills & Boon romances

Featuring daredevil doctors, rakeish film directors and fairy tale princes — have a browse!

Syndetics book coverDaring to date the boss / by Barbara Wallace.
“Shes ruled out romance — Liz Strauss is the queen of control. As a single mom she’s got to be. But her attraction to new boss Charles ‘Ice King’ Bishop throws oh-so-careful Liz into a complete tailspin. Suddenly her nightmares over her son’s future have been replaced by dreams of romantic dates! But her boss has other ideas… Its been years since Liz has trusted anyone not to hurt her. Sharing sizzling kisses with Charles is one thing, but believing that his frosty exterior conceals a heart that will beat for her for always is quite another.” (Global Books)

Syndetics book coverDoctor’s guide to dating in the jungle / by Tina Beckett.
“Rule No.1 – don’t flirt with your boss! Dr Stevie Wilson knows the rules – but on arrival in Brazil, in the confines of their medical boat, she’s finding it virtually impossible to keep away from her lethally attractive boss Dr Matt Palermo. Even their hammocks are on top of one another! Rule No.2 – apply ridiculous amounts of insect repellent. This one’s easier to follow, but that won’t help to banish thoughts of the hunky Matt… Rule No.3 – is the biggest challenge of all… Never fall for a man who has buried his heart deep in the Amazon jungle!” (Amazon)

Syndetics book coverDaredevil and Dr Kate / Leah Martyn.
“Sometimes true love means taking a leap of faith… Single mum Dr Kate Preston’s dreams of raising her kids in the safety of the countryside are blown away when she meets Dr ‘Daredevil’ Aiden O’Connor, whose blistering kisses leave her breathless! But does she have the courage to put her heart on the line for another man who lives life on the edge?” (Amazon)

Syndetics book coverThe talk of Hollywood / by Carole Mortimer.
“Lights… From his latest sports car to his latest blonde, gossip surrounds infamous Hollywood actor and director Jaxon Wilder. Unnamed sources are speculating outrageously about an unknown beauty that Jaxon is determined to get to know…intimately! Camera… Except Stazy, infuriatingly, is nothing like Jaxon’s usual conquests…To Jaxon’s disgust she demands an equal stake in his project – they’ll have to work side by side for months! Jaxon agrees to a professional partnership… knowing that, however hard Stazy tries to resist, eventually they’ll tantalise the tabloids with a scandalous affair – on and off the red carpet!” (Amazon)

Syndetics book coverInvitation to the prince’s palace / by Jennie Adams.
“Pretending to be a princess Mel Watson’s just a normal girl until a cab ride turns into an invitation to a whole new life. It’s not until she hears her cab driver being addressed as “Your Highness” that she realizes she’s stumbled into a fairy tale…. Prince Rikardo can’t believe he’s collected the wrong wannabe princess. Mel’s far from the cynical social climber he planned for — the tempting softness in her eyes makes him wary. For Rikardo’s long given up on love: he wants a temporary wife…and proposing to this sweet, ordinary girl feels all too real.” (Global Books)

Attention all aspiring Romance writers

The Sandra Hyde Romance Writers Trust is offering a scholarship to the Romance Writers of NZ annual conference, Love is in the Air, August 24-26 in Auckland.

The Prize:

RWNZ Conference fees (Friday Workshop and Weekend Conference, including cocktail party). If the winner is not currently a member of RWNZ, their prize will include a one-year membership subscription, since only members can attend the Weekend Conference. Value = $420 ($470 for non-members) PLUS $150 contribution toward expenses.
Who can enter: Any New Zealand-based writer of romantic fiction (published or unpublished).
Full information can be found at Romance Writers of New Zealand.

Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards

Syndetics book coverSummer of love / Katie Fforde. “ Katie Fforde has just been named Contemporary Romance Novelist of the year for her novel The Summer of Love by the Romantic Novelists’ Association. This is her 17th novel; her first, Living Dangerously was published in 1995.

Syndetics book coverThe kashmir shawl / Rosie Thomas.
Rosie Thomas was awarded the prize for Best Epic Romantic Novel for the Kashmir Shawl, a multi-generational family story. Both novels are now in contention for Romantic Novel of the Year, with Joanna Trollope and Philippa Gregory among previous winners.”

Australian Romance Readers Awards

The finalists for the Australian Romance Readers Awards for 2011 have been announced, and they include Nalini Singh, Nora Roberts (in various guises), and more. There are nine awards given every year (you can browse previous winners here) in various categories: paranormal romance, sci-fi/urban fantasy/futuristic romance, short romance, historical romance, contemporary romance, erotic romance, romantic suspense, favourite romantic continuing series, and finally, members’ favourite Australian romance author. (No cyberpunk romances this year, alas.)

Here are some of the finalists (in various categories):

Syndetics book coverShattered sky / Helene Young.
“On a routine surveillance flight east of the Australian coast, Captain Lauren Bennett’s crew pick up a mayday call. A yacht is under fire. For the international smugglers operating below the radar of the navy and Border Watch, sinking a pleasure craft is just part of their day s work. Lauren has other ideas. As she pursues the men into the isolated country of Cape York, she ll need all the help she can get. That will mean joining forces with the cynical navy officer Callam Granger, who’s already shown his contempt for her. What will it take to convince him she’s right this time? Can they put aside their old animosities to outwit, outrun and ultimately out-fly the traffickers? Or will another death shatter Lauren’s life completely?” (Global Books)

Syndetics book coverRiver marked / Patricia Briggs.
“Car mechanic and shapeshifter Mercy Thompson senses that an evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River – one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArchangel’s blade / Nalini Singh.
“In the intensely dark, violent, and romantic fourth Guild Hunter novel (after Archangel’s Consort), Singh focuses on the 1,000-year-old vampire Dmitri, lieutenant to the archangel Raphael, and Guild Hunter Honor, still recovering after a rogue vampire kidnapped and tortured her for two months. Assigned by the Guild to work with Dmitri toward solving the strange murder of a young vampire, Honor must confront the conflicting emotions he inspires, which intensify when the investigation bleeds into her past abduction and Dmitri vows revenge on her attackers. Their relationship develops explosively and becomes one of equals despite the centuries of age difference. Singh’s vampires, angels, hunters, and archangels engage in global power struggles within a complex larger story that new readers will find challenging. An engrossing narrative, vivid characters, and a well-imagined world mitigate those difficulties, resulting in a heart-pounding and strongly emotional read.” (Publishers Weekly)

Syndetics book coverPrince of Scandal / by Annie West.
“Prince… Ruling prince Raul, Prince of Maritz, is furious that an archaic law is forcing him to wed. But scandal and unrest has dogged this prince for years, and a marriage to recently discovered princess Luisa Hardwicke will help bring stability to the monarchy. Reluctant princess… Only Luisa is an outspoken, mud-splattered farm-girl, who isn’t going to come quietly! Even as she’s reluctantly transformed into polished perfection, Luisa challenges Raul at every turn – and he finds himself anticipating their wedding night with an excitement he never imagined he’d feel… ” (Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe next always / Nora Roberts.
“Beckett has no trouble whatsoever talking to women. It’s just Claire who has him at a loss for words. It all began when Beckett fell hard and fast for Claire in high school, but Claire wound up marrying Beckett’s best friend, Clint. Now, more than a decade later, Claire, a war widow, is back in Boonsboro, building a new life for herself and her sons as the owner of the town’s bookstore. Even though renovating the local inn keeps Beckett busy, he still manages to bump into Claire at least once a day, and he still finds himself surprisingly tongue-tied. Finally, when Beckett offers Claire an early tour of the inn, it leads to an unexpected kiss. With the first impeccably written and richly emotional installment in her new contemporary romantic trilogy, Roberts delivers all the elements her readers enjoy, including a perfectly matched pair of protagonists and a plot spiced with danger, a touch of the paranormal, and deliciously tart humor. Readers will also relish the autobiographical dimension. The novel is set in Roberts’ hometown, Boonsboro, Maryland, in which she owns a restored inn and is the proprietor of Turn the Page bookstore.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverMagic slays / Ilona Andrews.
“Kate Daniels has quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but starting her own business isn’t easy. So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead asks for help with a vampire, Kate jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, this is one case where Kate should have looked before she leapt. Original.” (Syndetics summary)